Balcombe Parish Council has received from WSCC the following statement:
“West Sussex County Council confirmed today [Friday 4th October] that it is handing out letters [follow link below to read letter] to remaining people still camped on verges next to the B2036 London Road at Balcombe, urging them to use the dedicated area set-up to facilitate their protest.
The County Council is re-establishing the area – provided when a decision was taken to seek to regain possession of the roadside verges – after discovering that it had been taken down.
Camping inside the area will not be permitted.
The letter follows continuing and growing road safety and welfare concerns.
Last month, the County Council applied to the High Court for a possession order for the roadside verges on the B2036, but the hearing was adjourned. The protestors gave an assurance that they would leave once the drilling work ceased.
The Council has until Tuesday, October 8, to apply to the court for the possession order hearing to be re-activated.
In a statement, the Council said: “Cuadrilla completed its operations at the site at the end of last week, but people are still camped on the verges and a hut has also been erected.
Our main reason for seeking a possession order was because of the very serious safety concerns we have for the demonstrators and all road users.
This is a busy, unlit road with a 60 mph limit. There is now a greatly reduced police presence, and also evidence that the speed of vehicles passing through this area is increasing. The weather is also changing, and daylight hours are reducing which also increases the dangers.
As a responsible highway authority we simply cannot have people putting themselves and drivers at risk.
We do not know how the designated protest area was removed, but we are re-instating it and asking people camped on the verges to leave, and for any protestors to use this facility as the safe way of continuing their protest.
A decision will be taken later about whether the County Council exercises its right to ask the High Court to re-instate its application for a possession order.”